tv American Artifacts Admiral Nimitz World War II in the Pacific CSPAN May 11, 2019 9:55am-10:09am EDT
one else seeking to ask a question or make a point? thank all of you very much for coming and sharing in our enlightening discussion. thank you all. [applause] [indiscernible conversations] announcer: you are watching american history tv. to join the conversation like us on facebook at c-span history. announcer: each week, american artifacts takes you to museums and historic places to learn about american history. next, we tour the national museum of pacific lower in -- war in fredericksburg, texas, to learn about admiral nimitz, commander of the u.s. pacific fleet during world war ii.
we also see a japanese submarine used during the pearl harbor attack, an american torpedo bomber, and a u.s. flag's own by prisoners of war. brandon: we are at the national texas.in fredericksburg, we are often asked why a museum dedicated to the pacific war is landlocked in texas. the answer is simple. admiral nimitz was born in fredericksburg. we are actually standing in the building his grandfather built in the 1800s. when he was approached by local businessman who wanted to open a museum in his offer, he originally declined the offer. in 1965, he finally agreed, as long as the museum was made about the men and women who served under him and not about him. sadly in he died.
1966,here on display we have the flag that draped his coffin during his funeral. almost one year after his death, the museum opened here in fredericksburg. now we are going to go to the george w. bush gallery and look at some artifacts that show we stay true to the mission of making this about the men and women who served under admiral nimitz and not just about admiral nimitz. welcome to the national museum of the pacific war in fredericksburg, texas, the only museum in the continental united states dedicated to telling the human story of world war ii in the pacific. and in three galleries here we tell the chronological story of world war ii in the pacific through the eyes of the men and women who fought that war. when america was attacked at pearl harbor on december 7, 1941, america was not prepared for war. behind me, you will see a photo of pearl harbor right before the attack.
shortly we will look at one of the five midget submarines used by the japanese in the attack on pearl harbor. this is one of the five midget subs the japanese used in the attack on pearl harbor. it was piloted by a two man crew , 72 inches in length and two torpedoes at the front. the great thing about these was they could come into the shallow depth of the harbor, they could come and underneath the ships, get in, launch a torpedo, and hopefully get back out before they were noticed. this one, however, did not quite accomplish that mission. inside here it was battery-powered. you are looking at about 120 degrees heat on average. the gyroscope malfunctioned. that caused them to be hitting reefs, hitting sandbars, and that jarred the batteries loose, which caused the release of chemicals, causing the pilot in
-- and the copilot to go in and out of consciousness. the pilot and copilot exited patch -- topop hatch. the copilot drowned in his attempt to get to shore, and the pilot made it to shore and passed out. when he woke up, he was surrounded by troops and became the first american prisoner of war in world war ii. this was new technology to the u.s. we did not have anything with this capability in our arsenal. the technology of the midget submarine was another example of how unprepared the u.s. was for world war ii. next, we will look at a comparison of what a u.s. submarine would have had subsred to the japanese and in their technology. as you can tell, it took more than just a couple people, but the layout is the same. six torpedo ports at the front,
the center would have had a larger control room a galley , kitchen and living quarters for the crew, which then led back into the engine rooms, much larger than the japanese midget sub. this is the number two torpedo door for the uss seahorse. this would've been on the inside where the crew would've hatch and raised the fire. what you see here is what you see a lot on the sides of airplanes. every time a torpedo from the number two hatch sunk a japanese ship, the crew painted a japanese flag to keep track. here at the museum, we have over 900 artifacts on display. that is roughly about 3% of our total collection. but one of our prized possessions is the door of the uss arizona. here you can see where the ship set in the water and the oil stained the metal. here is the hole that welders cut to look for survivors in that room. admiral nimitz originally did not want to command the pacific
fleet. there were a handful of admirals he felt were more qualified to take that command. fdr eventually called him and said get your ass to pearl harbor and get the job done. we think admiral nimitz was chosen by fdr for his leadership style and the kind of person he was. he was humble, down to earth. i think fdr saw that as a huge perk after such a massive blow to the u.s. navy and u.s. fleet, that that was the kind of leader who would take the pacific to victory. this is a picture of admiral nimitz taking command of the fleet on the last day of this is one of the very last 1941. ships available for something like this. keep in mind, this was not even a month after the attack on pearl harbor. admiral nimitz was a submariner, and he always saw himself as one. so to take command of the pacific fleet on board a
submarine says something about the man his leadership, and his submarines in the navy. it's important to point out that during the attack on pearl harbor, the japanese did not hit our submarine base and they ended up being a huge weapon during the pacific war. this is a stewart tank that was commanded by the australians on the island of new guinea. this is a tank commanded by the australians and on christmas eve of this tank took a direct round 1942, from a japanese antiaircraft gun right here through what would have been the driver gunner position. this gunner was instantly killed the tanklattimore, commander telling his story with , this exhibit. this knocks the tank completely out of position. it hit with such an impact, his
watch actually stopped when the hit took place. he and his gunner were able to crawl out through the hole and survive. his legs were very badly mangled but he lived out the rest of his , life after world war ii. here at the museum, we have 5000 oral histories on collection from people who lived through world war ii. history does is bring this exhibit a little more to life seeing the tank, hearing , the story from the man who commanded the tank and survived the attack. heand then i saw my driver, climbed out of his seat, shoot hole.erough the in through the tank and discovered both my legs had been very badly smashed.
another unique piece of the exhibit is a japanese gun that took the tank out. it's right down this hallway and we are going to see that next. now we are at the japanese three inch gun, which is the same gun that took out jack lattimore's tank. this was an antiaircraft gun. but the fact the barrel can go five degrees below or above also made it great for taking out light armored tanks like the m3 stuart. from here, we are going to look at one of the more unique artifacts. less than 89 of these went into service in 1943 before production was canceled. this one, however is the only , one on display in the world out of three left in existence that we know of. it is classified as a fighter and it was used for forward offensive maneuvers where airships were not readily available. as you can imagine, putting
three buoys at the bottom of the plane hindered its capabilities. you can see that up in the wings it has two 20 millimeter guns one on each wing. , there are also 27 millimeter machine guns. this is a single pilot aircraft. from here, we are going to go down to the pacific combat zone our torpedout bomber. this is similar to the plane george bush flew in world war ii. in comparison to the japanese plane that we just all, this is a much larger aircraft, the largest single engine aircraft the u.s. had in its fleet. you had the pilot, the tailgunner, and a radioman on the crew. as you can see below it can , carry one torpedo or multiple 200 or 500 pound bombs. this is a torpedo bomber, so it could drop torpedoes or bomb from heights up to 30,000 feet.
a unique feature of the plane was the fact the wings could fold up allowing for more to be , carried on top of the aircraft carrier. seede of the wings, you can where the wheels would tuck up into the wings with a hydraulic lift. we are in the victory exhibit of george h. w. bush gallery. behind me is probably my favorite artifact that we have on display, the p.o.w. flag. individuals were ordered to destroy the flag. they took the stars off the american flag and hid them on their person. they spent the next 42 months as pows on ships, in factories, and in p.o.w. camps. if the stars had been found, that would have been an automatic death sentence for any three or all three individuals. one morning they woke up the
left the p.o.w. camp, locked the gate behind them, and the americans and allies were stuck fending for themselves. using a sewing machine, rusty nail and some thread, and the parachute from the supply drop, the three of them sewed this american flag back together and when the camp was freed, this flag was flying over it. this artifact is a prime example of what admiral nimitz wanted the museum to be about, not about him but about the men and women who served under him. what better artifact then this flag, keeping that piece of america with them as they were p.o.w's? it really speaks to the characteristics of the greatest generation. announcer: you can watch this and other programs by visiting our website, c-span.org/history. on may 10, 1869,
railroad tycoon li linda stanford hammered in a gold spike to link the central specific -- pacific railroad from the west and the road road from the east. the transcontinental railroad was complete. we go to utah to learn more. david: so we are from the summit walking you over to where the transcontinental railroad was completed. this spot, marked by the thai -- of whereithin inches the original ceremony was held in 1869. included on this tie is a plaque that lists many of the dignitaries from that company, including leland stanford's name. and the big four are all marked